Category Archives: Everyday Life

Post Holiday Thoughts

Post Holiday Thoughts

How was your holiday? It was a very different one for me. Simple, less hectic and laid back. Actually, I had no choice but to pull back as I had foot surgery earlier in the month. Yes, I’m rocking that infamous designer surgical shoe. LOL

I’m so happy I was able to repair my vintage ornament wreath that had fallen apart. Made a banner using mailing tags

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and created a swag of small pine cones using jute string.

Hung some ornaments here

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and there.

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Dyed a drop cloth remnant blue and added some felt trees.

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And when my holiday basket dried out way too soon

I came up with this super quick alternative instead.

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I  also made some Christmas stockings using drop cloth fabric but can’t seem to find those pics.

Anyway, “use what you have” decorating is my favorite thing to do and was a great distraction from my healing foot. I actually enjoyed pulling back and not getting lost in the usual hustle and bustle.

Thankfully, no holiday blur this year. A detour from the usual holiday routine and traditions can be a good thing. Do you agree?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I decided to get a jump start on the table setting by doing it the night before. I wanted it to be a forethought instead of an afterthought. which usually happens when I get caught up in the meal preparation frenzy.

I used a blanket for  a table cloth. I’ve seen others do it and fell in love with the look. I like when part of the table is exposed.

Then I grabbed whatever I had and worked from there. When I ran out of these little mini wreaths

I continued the look with these mini pine cones.

I didn’t have a complete set of wine glasses so I pulled  these monogrammed glasses out of hiding.

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I think they will take our beverage of choice, sparkling cider, up a notch.

A small flower arrangement, and that’s it!

Nothing fancy. I like to think of it as basic casual elegance. That’s me.

Ready for a Thanksgiving dinner lunch since No. 1 son has to be at  work  for 4:(  If everything goes as planned  though, we will be sitting down at 2 pm.  But early is a good thing because you have the rest of the day to recuperate relax.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Before i begin,  I would just like to acknowledge everyone who was affected and/or lost a loved one on 9/11. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Last November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I had a grandiose plan to revamp my tiny kitchen in time for the holidays. LOL LOL LOL I laid out a detailed plan on paper and convinced myself that it can be done in a two week time frame. Although my mental clarity was not compromised, looking back on it, I don’t know what I was thinking. Through it all, I learned a lot about myself and what I really love, and what I don’t really love which is always a good thing. I realized that I enjoy DIY with limits. I now know, if it involves plumbing, electricity and gas, I’m out.

Let me start from the beginning. I moved into my home 13 years ago. During that time,  I did 4 kitchen facelifts, mostly with paint,  replacing kitchen counter tops and trimming the cabinets. Unfortunately, I have very few pics of the original kitchen and the previous facelifts as I wasn’t blogging back then. Our home was built in 1947 and the cabinets were a dark brown laminate with  light grey/beige Formica counter tops and back splash and a white linoleum floor that was impossible to  keep clean and all white appliances. And  there was no dishwasher!

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When we moved in, immediately,  we replaced the old refrigerator with another white standard fridge and pulled out one of the nine cabinets to make room for an apartment size dishwasher. I was more than willing to sacrifice a cabinet for less dish washing. And then there were eight, cabinets that is.

Quickly, I painted the cabinets in desperation. At the time, I was pregnant with my second son. I have to say this disposable camera shot did not do this first attempt justice.

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It was a step in the right direction and, I assure you, it get’s way better with facelift #2. I finally got up enough courage to rip the Formica backsplash off the walls. And after some patching, I was glad I did.

 

Kitchen reno backsplash removal

I added trim to the cabinets and painted them white, replaced the counter tops and painted the walls Benjamin Moore Bradstreet Beige  This began a love affair with all the shades on that paint strip. Various shades, including Jackson Tan started popping up in every room of our home. I did a faux tile paint treatment behind the stove atop vinyl sheeting that I didn’t want to mess with. I like how this makeover turned out, however, after a few years, I got tired of having to scrub the cabinets all the time so I opted to go dark again.

2nd kitchen facelift

The next attempt was a disaster! I’m amazed that I even took a picture. I was going for a faux wood look but instead it looked like someone smeared you know what all over these cabinets. Yuck!

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I was rather distraught over this botched paint job and decided to rekindle my love affair with Jackson Tan since Bradstreet Beige was already on the walls..

Benjamin Moore jackson tan bradstreet beige paint chipsSo I painted the cabinets Jackson Tan.

kitchen reno 3 before

I just wanted to give you the back story before showing you my latest update.  As I write this, the new stove is sitting in the middle of the kitchen waiting patiently for the plumbers to hopefully shorten that gas line enough so that the stove can fit flush against the wall instead of sitting out as the previous one did. Wish me luck, as it has been the bumpiest of rides this time around.

How about you, do you have any DIY limitations?

A Blogging Metamorphosis

A Blogging Metamorphosis

It’s been over a month, one month and two days to be exact, since my last post During that time, I sat down to write countless times. I would start typing and a feeling of uneasiness would take over.    I would stop, walk away only to return days later to an uncompleted post. Blogging used to be so much easier for me. Lately, it has been feeling forced. I’m at a crossroads. I want to continue blogging and sharing  but perhaps in a different way and about different things. I’ve been doing some soul searching lately but the answers are taking their time to manifest. And so, I find myself  in limbo, not sure what to do. Does that make any sense? If it doesn’t, that’s okay; I’m confused as well. What I don’t want to do is create filler posts that don’t represent my true voice because authenticity is very important to me. I want whatever I’m writing about to originate from within,  a special  gift from me to you.     I noticed that life lately has been filled with too many blurs and unfocused  moments.

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Blurred moments are a reminder that I am not living with intention. A couple of weeks ago, I was co-facilitating a workshop entitled ” The Happy Life Guide” and gave a talk on journaling.

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It was a great experience because journaling has played a major role in my life offering me clarity, vision and focus.

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I’ve written about my journaling experiences here and here.  It was a treat to share my experience in the hopes of inspiring others to give it a try.  Journaling, on an as needed basis, works for me. The frequency varies according to what is going on in my life.  However,  if I put it off when I feel the need to do so, I can literally feel myself getting off kilter. Like journaling, I decided not to be so consumed with the quantity of my posts and focus all my efforts on the authenticity of my messages and blog when I have something I truly want and need to say. With that in mind  blogging pauses will be inevitable; however,  rather than  force myself to post for the sake of posting, instead,  I will look forward to and wait for the nudge from within to share and connect with you. Do you have a life practice that keeps you grounded and on point? Also, for the bloggers out there, can you relate to my blogging quandary? Any advice?

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

The last few months, I took an unintentional break from DIY . Let me rephrase that, I’ve planned, I’ve started, I’ve dabbled but I haven’t completed anything  that I was inspired to write about.  Hence the blog posts have not been forthcoming because I’ve been in a DIY slump.

Happily though, I think I am now back into the DIY spirit and started finishing a project I started last November, my kitchen. It was suppose to be a two week facelift but one thing lead  to another and it turned into a mini makeover.  I have a ways to go and will post about it soon.

Mr. DIY and I have been tackling the dreaded garage for three consecutive weekends.

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I realize this before shot could qualify for an episode on Hoarders and  is rather shocking. But we are ready for change.

We devoted two hours each weekend  and we made real progress. We donated a lot to Build It Green

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Doing our best to spare the landfill as much as possible..

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Then week 2 and  another trip to Build it Green, minus the dishwasher which is going to the salvage yard.

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And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

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As, the clean out progressed we were throwing away less which always makes me happy.

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These days, things are a little more orderly now. Not pretty, just orderly. I can find things again! Yeah!

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One more weekend and we should be done and then it’s garage sale time.

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And, of course,  whatever doesn’t sell will be donated.

Our Summer plan is to turn the garage into a functional workspace . That is a DIY dream that both of us share. Oh that would be such blissful goodness:)

Do you have one of those spaces that always seems to turn into a dumping ground?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Special Day With a Little DIY!

A Special Day With a Little DIY!

I rarely talk about my kids in depth and when I do, I do so sparingly. When I started this blog, I wanted to share my story through my DIY journeys without putting too much of their stories out there; that is up to them if they so choose.

However, with epic moments comes exceptions with their permission of course.  Last Sunday, No. 1 Son graduated from Springfield College ( Massachusetts)! It was a beautiful day and I am  so very proud of him. From my perspective,  his educational journey included some challenges, however, he triumphed in the end and that is all that matters.

On Saturday, we had a celebratory dinner with a few of our extended family members. We dined at Tao’s, a restaurant, a place we frequented on occasion during our Springfield visits for Family and Friends Day, school performance, etc.

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The Asian and Japanese cuisine is as great as the service. It was the perfect place to celebrate.If you are ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it. It’s located at 31 Harkness Avenue, East Longmeadow, MA.

For dessert, I gave each person a single serve cake in a canning jar. I actually assembled them using cupcake slices and alternating it with layers of cream cheese frosting, all made from scratch of course.

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It was time consuming but I love offering a little DIY touch  whenever possible. However,  if I ever make them again, which I’m sure I will because they’re fun, I will bake the cake in the jars instead

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After dinner, we went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep,  an early wake up call and a quick breakfast before the heading out to the graduation. This is our last walk through the corridor of  the Residence Inn in Springfield where we stayed many times. We prefer their apartment style layout. We’ve grown very loyal to the entire Marriot brand throughout our many travels.

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I love taking pictures of my guys from the back. I don;t why, but I do. Even with the blur factor, it’s still special.

And the graduation ceremony begins; It was held at the MassMutual Center.

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I’m so glad No. 1 Son is tall, I can spot him anywhere. It made picture taking from afar that much easier.

 

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He’s about to get the official handshake. Missed  that one, oh well.

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One week later, I am still elated with joy. There’s nothing better than watching your kids succeed. Job well done! It was a special day for our family and I’m so glad a woman stopped and offered to take this picture for us.

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A blessed day all around. I’m so thankful. One down!

 

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One to go!

 

 

 

Digital versus Old School

Digital versus Old School

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Digital dominance prevails; electronic communication – email, texts, social media posts – comprises the majority of our exchange these days with friends, family, coworkers, etc. We tap keys more, talk and/or handwrite less. Do you remember the last time you received a hand written letter or note? Card exchanges have dwindled, often restricted to holidays, loss of a loved one or an occasional birthday. Has it been the same for you?

This got me thinking about memory preservation and how, back in the day, keeping a collection of letters from a  loved one, friend or pen pal was the norm. Fast forward to our present day exchanges –  texts, tweets, posts and emails – a generic and quicker means to an end. Although they might contain meaningful dialogue and exchanges, they will never have that nostalgic appeal of their handwritten one-on-one predecessors. Think about it; have you ever printed an email for inclusion in a scrapbook or memory box?  I’m guessing not. Unlike handwritten correspondence,  electronic communication is devoid of any personalization and aesthetic beauty like penmanship, stationery design and impromptu freehand doodles. More importantly, a snail mail personalized message is intended for your eyes only and the intentions of the sender are so much clearer. Your message is not restricted to 140 characters and/or filled with texting acronyms.

 

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And how about our digital photos?. Most reside indefinitely on our phones, hard drives and or our social media accounts because that is how we share. As I write this post  I have 1035 photos on my phone.

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As you can see, only 109 have been categorized in separate albums. I think that’s a little telling of the lack of  importance of the other 926, don’t you think? Will the majority of these photos ever see the light of day? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not alone and the vast majority of the photos we take will forever reside in a digital void.  It’s been over three years since I put together a traditional photo album. Instead, I now store my keepsake photos, like those that I categorized on my phone or would have printed back in the day, on a dedicated hard drive, organized in file folders for quick access should the need arise to view or print them.

Realizing, on the one hand, that  digital technology allows us to restore and preserve history, I still wonder about the loss of those tangible remnants of our history that will never be created because we are so  digitally driven.

What do you think?  Is there an optimum digital versus “old school” balance for preserving memories? How do you store, collect and save your digital exchanges and memories?

 

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